More than H-Andy
Andy Murray is not only a winner but an entertainer too, says Mark Petchey, despite his critics' claims.
Last Updated: 16/02/09 12:34pm
Andy Murray's reputation continues to grow week-in, week-out and yet I still get the feeling that his success comes with a bit of a backlash.
How anyone can be negative about what he is achieving at the moment is beyond me but there are those who believe he is only being talked up because he's British.
My message to those people is get over it. Enjoy the way Andy plays tennis because he is not only a winner but an entertainer too.
Some of the shots he produced to beat Rafael Nadal in Sunday's ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament and claim his 10th career title - yes 10th of what is becoming a phenomenal career - were outstanding.
Yes, he still needs to win a major but I believe his success in Rotterdam proves that dream is going to turn into a reality sooner rather than later.
Beating guys like Rafa on a regular basis is all part of the psychological process that will help him overcome that huge hurdle of winning your first slam.
In that context Sunday's win was a big one - not as big as last year's US Open victory admittedly because the Spaniard was hampered by injury - but a clear indication of his growing maturity.
He didn't play his best tennis at the start of the week but he was by the end and that's how the best players go on and become World No 1. His victory over Mario Ancic was nothing short of a demolition.
Most of the players struggled to find their timing in the early stages of the tournament because of the low bounce and the speed of the court, which Rafa described as the fastest he's experienced in two years.
The Spaniard still showed incredible fighting spirit to reach the final and challenge for the final despite being in his least favoured environment and the tour is lucky to have him.
I thought France's Gael Monfils was another stand-out player; the World No 11 is taking huge strides forward every week and he is definitely one Andy is going to have to keep an eye on.
In fact, there were plenty of pluses from a week that attracted a good-quality field and healthy crowds. I felt the tournament justified its billing as a '500' event in a new-look structure, which has succeeded in making the Tour less confusing.
By rating tournaments as '1000', '500' or '250' and awarding that number of ranking points to the winner the Tour aims to make tennis more accessible to people who are starting to show an interest in tennis through the rivalries that are developing.
The system is not dissimilar to that used by NASCAR in the US and had to come in because tennis has appealed to too small an audience for too long.
If you are somebody who watches football 80 percent of the year and then switches over to see how Andy Murray is getting on it is only natural to want to know what each tournament means in the bigger scheme of things so I'm all for the changes.
On a different note, it was easy to see what victory in the WTA Tour Open GDF SUEZ meant to Amelie Mauresmo.
The Frenchwoman has suffered so much heartache in Paris over the years after failing to meet the expectations people have of her every year at Roland Garros that only a pretty hard person would not be thrilled to see her win in that city.
She's really struggled to stick with it during the lean times and I'm sure there were plenty of people telling her to retire but today she must be experiencing sheer elation. It's a phenomenal story.